Friday, May 13, 2011

Natchez, MS

Although I have been to Natchez several times before, I saw something new this time around. You can check out my previous blog on Natchez back in September of 2009. Natchez is the beginning of the Natchez Trace, a 400 mile National Parkway ending in Nashville, TN. It was used by the local Indians for centuries, and by the rivermen, traders and explorers for about 15 years back in the late 1700s and early 1800s. Then the steam engine revolutionized river traffic and the trace went by the wayside. But for a few years, its importance to the onward expansion of our country was great. But back to Natchez. Prior to the civil war it had more millionaires living there than any city except New York City. Following the civil war and floods and the boll weevil, it not only lost its importance, but lost its wealth too. Now it is only a showcase of what life back then must have been like.

This home was built by a free black man in 1851. Although most blacks were slaves during this time in history, there were some who not only were free men, but success and wealthy. Yet, although free, they still had few rights in society.

We were there during the floods. The worst of the flooding is still almost 10 days away, yet streets are already underwater.

Down under the hill, along the waterfront, they have started sandbagging, anticipating the rising waters. The casino was already closed for business.

But the Under the Hill Bar was still open. This bar has been around for over 150 years.

Pictures on the wall tell of the history of the waterfront bar, which was located along the docks where the cotton was loaded and unloaded over 100 years ago.

Across the river you can see only a little of the rooftop of some building. Remember, the worst of the flooding is still 10 days away.

The house, aptly named Eidelweiss, was built in 1875. It was empty and looks as if it is being remodeled.

This is Rosalie, built by a saw mill owner in 1823. For $15 you can take a tour of the home. Even though this home is quite old, Natchez itself, was founded by the Spanish in 1716, so by the time this home was built, the town was already over 100 years old.

I loved the way these hedges were cut in the back yard of one of the antebellum homes. I must really like it because I went back to 2003, the first time I was in Natchez, and found I photographed the same backyard. Only difference was the statue which has been added.

We took the walking tour through downtown Natchez. Some homes were built as early as 1770s, and some as late as the 1880s. Most are private residences today.

This is Melrose, another antebellum home built in the 1840s, is owned and managed by the National Park Service. You can tour this home and get a great history lesson for only a few dollars. Many of the furnishings are original to the home. It remained in one family for over 100 years.

This is a pukah. The wood was imported, but is was built in Natchez and installed when the home was built in 1841. A slave would stand off to the side, pulling a cord, which would swing the pukah slowly back and forth to shoo away the flies.

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